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Sword of Damocles hanging over Sarpanches

Sword of Damocles hanging over Sarpanches
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The sarpanches are now facing a new threat with the government warning them of dismissal if they fail to clear power bills.

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Hyderabad: The sarpanches are now facing a new threat with the government warning them of dismissal if they fail to clear power bills.

The government has proposed a 'power week programme' in rural areas to see that pending power due to the Discoms are cleared.

It may be recalled that the government had in the past warned the sarpanches of punishment if they failed to ensure success of Haritha Haram programme. The sarpanches were to ensure that the 80 per cent of sapling planted survive. Those sarpanches, who failed to ensure success of the programme would be removed.

The latest threat from the government to the sarpanches came now in the light of the decision to conduct 'power week' to ensure that the due to the Discoms are cleared.

The State government has decided to come down heavily on sarpanches to bail out Discoms which are facing financial crunch. Several government departments owed huge dues to the Discoms. Panchayats too owed dues to the Discoms.

According to sarpanches, each Gram Panchayat is required to pay Rs one lakh power bill per annum. It includes power used for streetlights and water supply schemes. As the Discoms have not insisted on timely payment of these bills till now, the arrears have mounted.

At the same time there is no proper billing system for the GPs as far as power used for the streetlights and water supply schemes. The Discoms have been sending bills which are being averaged out to the GPs .

Sarpanch of Thigul GP K Bhanu Prakash Rao said there was no meter to calculate the power consumption for the streetlights. He said that as there was no separate line for the streetlights, there was no possibility to meter the consumption of power.

The Doscps are excluding the amount of power consumed by agriculture and domestic sectors from the total power consumption and conclude that the remaining power is consumed for streetlights and water scheme.

The Mission Bhagiratha has imposed further burden on the Gram Panchayats in the form of power bills, he said.

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